February 2021

Google Photo Scan.

My husband and I will be celebrating 25 years together later this year. When it comes to capturing memories for nearly a quarter century, our relationship is distinctly “before digital camera” and “with digital camera”. Earl mentioned “we have a lot of photos”.

In my iCloud account I have over 35,000 photos taken since 2005 or so. We have hundreds or thousands of standard photos in boxes and albums as well. And I refuse to get rid of any of the “analog” photos.

Enter Google Photo Scan.

If you’re not familiar with the application, Google Photo Scan is a nifty little app on your iPhone that uses your camera to scan in photos. You center the photo in the frame on your phone, click to capture, and then follow the arrows to capture the corners of the photo. Google Photo Scan puts all of this together into one image that doesn’t have glare or distortion from any bends in the photograph or anything. The photo above was part of a collage put together by my cousin for my Dad’s funeral services nearly a decade ago. While still part of the collage, I used Google Photo Scan to grab the image and save it to my iCloud account.

Technology is awesome.

Now, I’m not usually a fan of Google services simply because it feels like Google drops support of a service as part of a random action from their company. I don’t like that and I still pine for the days of Google+ and Google Reader. But if you have some old photos to capture that you want to preserve digitally, get yourself Google Photo Scan while it’s still around.

It’s a nifty little application.

Oh, and I’ve found my desert hat.


Grandma Country had many yearbooks from our school district. They date from way before any of her children graduated to several years afterwards. I think she liked following the progression of families in the community. She was a lifelong resident of our little town. If zip codes had existed in the 1920s, she would have had the exact same zip code her entire life.

I inherited these yearbooks as they were retrieved out of my dad’s attic when his house was sold. I went through many of them this week as we started sorting and packing things for our move to the desert. In some of the yearbooks were programs from graduation services she attended and some student guidebooks. I found this page from the 1965-1966 school year interesting in regards to the dress code and proper etiquette.

My how times have changed, particularly around the expected dress of teenagers.

Selling A Lifestyle.

Getty Images.

Inc. is reporting that Target plans to introduce Apple “mini stores” inside of their stores. The first rollout includes 17 Target locations. The stores slated for the upgrade are in California, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas. It is a collaborative effort between Apple and Target.

For bringing Apple products, and it’s associated lifestyle services, to the masses this is a great idea. Apple is a leader of user privacy efforts in this always connected world, so anything that can be done to further that experience to as many users as possible is a good thing. This is a step in the right direction for areas of the country that don’t have a full blown Apple store.

One of the first things I looked up when we were discussing our move to Tucson was whether there was an Apple store in the vicinity of our potential neighborhood. Everyone can relax, it’s about a 30 minute drive across town. I look forward to Target adding an Apple mini store to our nearby location someday.

Some Best Buy locations have featured mini Apple stores and they seem successful for the most part. But with our last few visits to Best Buy revealing significantly scaled down locations with some bare shelves and abused displays, I can’t help but wonder how long Best Buy is going to be around.

While the trend is clearly to buy anything and everything online these days, there are times when you want to see and feel a product up close and personal before making a purchase. Having an area of your local Target where you can get an “Apple experience” before purchasing your next iPhone or HomePods or something just helps cement the connection between person and machine. Both companies benefit from the collaboration.

A brilliant move.


As we prepare for our move and went through the storage unit in the basement, I was delighted to find several crates of records from my DJ days. I knew they were down there somewhere, but they hadn’t seen the light of day in nearly four years. And now they’re being packed up and prepped for a ride across the country to Tucson.

When I was DJing three or four nights a week I heavily relied on a few of the remix services, including Ultimix, Hot Tracks, and Hi-NRG from Hot Tracks. These “For DJ Use Only” mixes featured custom mixes of popular songs, often with the necessary lead in and break out beats necessary to keep the dance floor moving in constant time as you moved between songs. It’s not nice to make gay men and lesbians trip and fall as you just mash two songs together; you have to beat mix them, and more importantly, do it at the proper time in the track to keep the energy up and the people dancing.

Ultimix, Hot Tracks, and the like certainly helped in that situation.


The City of Chicago announced today crews will be going through the streets and picking up anything left out for “dibs”.

If you’re not familiar with the practice, here in Chicago, after a big snowfall folks will dig their car out and then leave lawn furniture, old coolers, saw horses, whatever they can get their hands on, to call dibs on their parking spot. We don’t park in the street so I’ve never experienced this first hand, but legend goes, if you call dibs on your spot and someone else parks there, all hell can break loose. I’ve read stories of people smashing out car windows, keying the offending car, etc., because they didn’t respect “dibs”.

I guess the fact that dibs is being called on a public, taxpayer funded street, is besides the point.

Again, I’ve never had to deal with people calling dibs, I just get to play witness, but from I’m not a fan. What happened to helping your neighbor?

After this latest winter storm I can tell you too many Chicagoans are ignoring their civic responsibilities of shoveling the walk in front of their homes. I shudder to think what happens when you get cars into the mix.


When I was a kid I envisioned a life of fame. I was going to be a darling of Hollywood, doing something like Bewitched or Star Trek or some comedic shtick and people would fawn over me and want my autograph wherever I went. I wanted to act, I wanted people to like me, and I wanted to be recognized in public. So very gay.

I tinkered with this a little bit with my days in radio; people would recognize my voice and my face from a TV commercial or something and say hello in the mall. I also toyed with the idea of being on a reality show in the early days of the travesty, getting so far as to one of the final rounds of “Big Brother” auditions. But my husband told me he had no interest in standing outside of the Big Brother House when I came out and I didn’t want to be the next Bunky anyways. The producers wanted another Bunky. You don’t remember Bunky? Neither do I.

(pause for Google)

Bunky lives in Arizona and does something with IT now. Good for him.

With TikTok and Twitter and YouTube and the like everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame and most people will do anything to claw their way to the limelight. They’ll say stupid things on television. They’ll run for an elected office. They’ll try to eat a corn of cob connected to an electric drill. They’ll burn their hair off. They’ll make “tech videos” which are thinly disguised audition tapes for a soap opera. They’ll appear on Ellen’s game show and get pushed around with a gigantic plunger. They’ll appear on “Today” for being wonderful and then a month later turn up on “The Wall”. They’ll sing in front of old people.

And they’ll say really stupid and idiotic things on Twitter just to get likes and follows and retweets. The sad part is that the vast majority of these idiotic endeavors don’t end up in fame, but notoriety.

I gleefully gave up the idea of being famous decades ago. The pool has been so diluted with idiocy and too many Americans now applaud asshattery and I definitely don’t want to land in that category.

I’m quite content with being a middle aged guy with a husband and a cat, a wonderful family, and a wonderful group of relatives and friends. Maybe that’s just part of getting old, finding contentment in what we have.

I just really hope I live long enough to see the natural ending of this American desire for notoriety.


With the arrival of spring-like weather here in Chicago you’d think I’d be all excited about spring being right around the corner. I am excited about this, but I’m more excited about relocating to Tucson at the end of next month.

The real thing is, however, it doesn’t feel like winter to me. It doesn’t feel like spring is just around the corner, though the human construct of time just marches along and tells us that’s what’s happening in the Northern Hemisphere. Ever since COVID-19 became the thing in most everyone’s life, time has felt odd. Routines have become more repetitive, activities have been restricted, and milestones that denote a certain place in the year (picnics, festivals, going outside, etc.) have not happened with their expected regularity.

I know we celebrated the holidays two months ago but it doesn’t feel like we really did it. To me it feels more like we just went through the motions.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been feeling little spats of “the blues” and not really understanding why, but in reality it’s been my usual winter season blahs I feel every year; I just didn’t pin it down to the proper place on the timeframe because it doesn’t feel like we’re in winter. It feels like some odd nebulous season right now. Limbo, I guess, for lack of a better word.

While the temperatures warm up a bit here in The Windy City, I appreciate the sunnier days and the snow melting.

I guess I just want to get outside and enjoy it without restrictions again.

Once You Go Mac…

On Friday I registered for the BYOD, or “Bring Your Own Device” program at work. With today’s remote work capabilities, we have the option of using our personal devices for business purposes. When we get back to traveling, I’ll have my Mac in tow instead of lugging around two computers, a work Windows 10 PC, and one of my personal devices.

To separate my personal files from my business files I created a second account on my Mac. This helps keep me focused and it keeps my personal data from mistakenly being shared to work folders or something through an errant mouse click. When we move I’ll probably add a second Mac to the stable to segregate the experience a little more and upgrade to something a little faster than my mid-2015 MacBook Pro. For now, things are working great.

Using one platform across my entire computing experience really kicks up my focus. When I’m on Windows some of the day and Mac or iOS the rest of the day I have to maintain two sets of programs and make sure my workflow (task management, etc) is cross platform and think “in parallel”. Getting back to this arrangement helped my brain get organized again; I was very productive at work today and it was a great start to the work week.

I have been using OmniFocus as my task manager for well over a decade. A year or two ago the OmniGroup added a web version for those that had to use Windows at work. Other than the web experience, all of OmniGroup’s software is Apple (Mac/iOS/iPadOS) only. The web experience was adequate but not as cohesive as I wanted it to be. I’m just not wired to quickly add a task to my ToDo list by clicking on a pinned tab in a web browser and navigating around a web page. It’s much easier for me to use the native experience and being able to do this through muscle memory lends itself to my using my task manager reliably and deliberately.

The consistency across my entire computing experience just works better for me. Everyone has their own way of doing things, my way is the Mac way.

Now remember, I make a living using Linux all day long. It’s much easier for me to do this from a Mac than from a Windows machine. Mac OS is based on Unix, Linux’s older cousin.

Anything that makes my day easier is worth celebrating.


There are many things to love about Apple’s Ecosystem, tying the iPhone and iPad, Mac, and iCloud together. When I use my iPad, each morning I see a photo from that day in my history.

Today my iPad presented me with the photo you see above, taken in New York on this date in 2010. We went a show, had a nice dinner, and had a very pleasant time. We were celebrating my husband’s birthday weekend. It seems like we went on that trip just yesterday; it’s hard to believe it’s been 11 years.

Technology should make us happy and smile. Whether it’s through a great user experience, a strong sense of security, or a pleasant moment, if we’re going to work in harmony with our technology, it has to be an experience that makes us smile.

This is why I always end up back on the Mac.

I have tens of thousands of photos in iCloud. I also have Time Machine backing up my important data on an external drive. I’m not good at organizing photos; I’m thankful for Apple’s Artificial Intelligence that tries to group things together and index things to make searches easy. The system is not perfect, but it’s more than adequate.

With our relocation to the southwest coming up soon, we’ll have a whole new batch of memories being saved to our devices. I feel secure in knowing they’ll endure and continue to delight me over the years.


After a week of bitter cold it’s nice to be able to stand outside in a reasonable layer of cold and enjoy a few moments of winter. My husband and I went for a ride on the prairie while the realtor hosted an Open House at the condo. The Open House proved to be fruitful. There was plenty of interest and we are under contract with the next owners of our current home.

I’ve excited about this. While the purchase of the house in Tucson was not dependent on the sale, it makes things a lot easier for our move. The timeline is coming together nicely. We’ll have plenty of time to get situated in Tucson before the intense summer heat kicks in.

In the meanwhile, I’ll enjoy some snow in the Prairie State.